Political heartland or artistic immersion?
Brussels is known as the heart of the European Union, and for good reason. This is the place where all of the most important EU institutions are headquartered, including the European Parliament, the EU Council, and the European Commission. All of these places can be found in the European Quarter, however, this name can be confusing as it is not an isolated district. You’ll immediately notice this political area due to its modern architecture and buildings made of glass. However, there are also some natural elements and architectural sculptures to appreciate and tourists who are interested in history and politics should visit the Parlamentarium, an interactive EU history museum.
If politics is not your favourite topic, what about art? Brussels is a city of museums and galleries with a true artistic soul. Take a walk on Mont des Arts – the hill of art – where you can find the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, which is home to many interesting artworks, alongside paintings by famous artists such as Magritte. Another important stop on any artistic tour of Brussels is the Museum of Musical Instruments. You can also admire some incredibly well-preserved Art Nouveau buildings in Brussels, including the Stoclet Palace and the buildings of Victor Horta, which are UNESCO World Heritage-listed.
Intensive sightseeing or a moment to yourself?
Brussels’ Grand Place is full of life, day or night. Its magnificent architecture includes houses with ornate facades that were original craft workshops. The Town Hall building, with its soaring tower and monuments, is the headquarters of the city authorities and can be visited with a pre-booked guide. When visiting Grand Place, it is also worth seeing the Maison du Roi Museum, where you can view interesting exhibitions and visit the GardeRobe Manneken Pis. This small museum is full of clothes that cover an 18th century bronze sculpture of a little boy urinating. This small sculpture is a famous symbol of the city and it also has several duplicates – in some parts of Brussels you can find similar sculptures with a dog or a girl.
Some of the most popular monuments in Brussels are its gothic buildings – the cathedral of St. Michael and Gudula and the Church of Notre Dame du Sablon. You can also visit the Marolles district with its medieval Porte de Hal gate, along with the Palace of Justice. About 20 km from Brussels you can explore Waterloo, the location of the legendary 1815 battle. Other attractions here include the Wellington Museum, the Wax Museum, and panoramic views of the battleground.
If not visiting all those monuments, maybe it’s time to relax and unwind. Local delicacies such as seafood and Belgian chocolate are known worldwide and Brussels’ famous beer culture has been added to the UNESCO List of Intangible Heritage. In the city’s numerous bars you can enjoy traditional and contemporary drinks – Délirium café stands out with over 2,000 types of beer! Brew fans should definitely visit the Belgian Beer Museum, while those who prefer shopping to sip can check out the Saint-Hubert Royal Galleries.
Attractions for children: indoor museums or outdoor fun?
Although Brussels may not be top of your list of child-friendly destinations, there is actually plenty here for families to enjoy. The Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate is a tasty journey through the land of sweets and treats, while the Museum of Natural History will be perfect for dinosaur lovers, due to its 30 real dinosaur skeletons and plaster casts. Meanwhile, the Toy Museum is packed with games dating all the way back to the 19th century! TrainWorld is an ideal solution for railway enthusiasts with vintage locomotives and a train driving simulator offering plenty of fun for young and old alike.
Children love to play outside and Brussels has plenty of parks that are perfect for running around in. Georges Henri Park is ideal for a picnic, featuring atmospheric alleys and a great playground. Parc de Bruxelles is also a great choice for a family trip – its Royal Theater is still in operation. Cinquantenaire offers green space for fun and relaxation with its famous Triumphal Arch and the AutoWorld car museum. Another popular Brussels attraction is the Atomium. Standing over 100 meters tall, the metal structure is actually an iron crystal magnified by 165 billion – the entrance to the building guarantees beautiful views of the surrounding area. When the weather is less than ideal, head to an indoor skatepark – an ideal location for fans of roller skating, skateboards, and scooters.
Comic books or European Monuments?
Comic book lovers are sure to fall in love with Brussels. While walking around the city’s special comic zone, you’ll see beautiful murals of iconic characters like Asterix and Obelix, Tintin, and Lucky Luke. Another place where you can explore the world of comic books is the Belgian Comic Strip Centre. Meanwhile, the MOOF Comics Museum contains Belgian comic book characters and world-famous superheroes such as Batman and Spider-Man and is a perfect backdrop to your photos. If your children prefer a whistlestop tour of Europe, you should definitely visit Mini Europa Park. Here, you’ll find over 350 miniature monuments, including Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower, with mobile installations bringing plenty of fun and facts!
Beautiful Brussels is a city of many hidden gems for all the family to discover and create beautiful memories!